Picture of Easy Pie Crust
This fool-proof, easy pie crust recipe ensures a perfect, flaky crust every time.

The trick is in the vodka! Being only 80-proof, most of the vodka evaporates in the baking process, meaning the crust dough gets the liquid it need to be formed, but most of it will not stay, leaving you with a perfect, flaky crust. And, vodka is, by definition, colorless and odorless, so once it's baked, you'll forget it was ever in there.

If you prefer not to use vodka, swap it for cold water.

Originally titled Foolproof Pie Dough, Cooks Illustrated, November 2007

Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients
To make two 9-inch crusts

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour - make sure you measure it right!
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into small bits
  • 1/4 cup cold vodka
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • Food processor, dough cutter, or fork & knife
pjamestx6 years ago
Instead of the fold-and-transfer method, since you're already rolling it out between two sheets of cling wrap, just remove the top one, you can flip your pie pan upside down and transfer the crust that way. I use a glass pie dish so that does make it a bit simpler.
scoochmaroo (author)  pjamestx6 years ago
matthewabel6 years ago
Is there a weight we could get on the flour? 2-1/2 cups enters the realm I'd rather weigh. But I have cup-measured chillin' in the fridge right now. Though, I had to measure the flour with a 1/2 cup measure and I'm not sure if I put in the final 1/2 cup...
scoochmaroo (author)  matthewabel6 years ago
Good point. Check out How to Measure Flour, where I've included weight now as well as volume.
TheMacyC2 years ago
Any substitutes for the vegetable shortening?
SD4562 years ago
This recipe looks really good to me. Although, I have some questions;

Can I leave out the vodka and the vegetable shortening ?
I don't have these two ingredients at home. :(
Jojo Realz2 years ago
Hey scoochmaroo can I use anything else instead of vodka???
scoochmaroo (author)  Jojo Realz2 years ago
White vinegar is a good substitute!
bFusion5 years ago
You may not need to use all the liquid. It has really varied for me. Some days I've needed all of it, other days I only needed half and it turned my dough into a soupy mess. I suggest mixing the water and vodka together and incorporating it in small splashes until it reaches the consistency you're looking for.
tabi bFusion3 years ago
My mother´s (and grandmother´s recipe) asks for "as much water as it would take" depends on the weather, humidity altitude... a myriad of factors... and above all DO NOT overwork! treat it gently... cold hands, cold kitchen, all that helps....

Thank you scoochmaroo for the idea of using alcohol, it is MY new recipe hehehe
This may have been mentioned before in the comments, but meh, I live in Australia and was wondering if you maybe had a substitute for crisco shortening. I'm pretty sure that you can't get it here. I love you recipes but can't make them because they're missing the shortening. You are pure awesomeness Scooch, Keep rocking and everyone will listen.
Crisco is vegetable shortening, I live in Mexico and here we use Inca, which is our national brand.
Vegetable shortening is a white soft substance... much like butter (which I prefer as it melts different in your mouth)
Hope this helps---
scoochmaroo (author)  Casperismyname4 years ago
I would suggest either going all butter or substituting the Crisco with lard. Stay away from Copha, I think. It would change the flavor profile and mouthfeel!
HamenChips4 years ago
You mean that the Vodka will be substituted by cold water with the same quantity, I don't understand English sometimes.
Booyaka35 years ago
I'm a Muslim and Alcohol is not allowed, so any substitutes??
Vinegar is a good substitute.
pieman125 years ago
im 13 is the vodka necesary??????
Some crusts use vinegar - also evaporates faster than water so it gives a similar result.
not necessary at all, try using vanilla or another flavoring.
Zem6 years ago
I'll definitely try this next time I want pie =D Though I'll have to follow Andi's advice and use water seeing as I'm underage.... (Stupid laws, this is why I want to go to Europe.)
Eric95 Zem5 years ago
Lol, we have just as many age restrictions over here. It's just a stupid myth...
b1russell5 years ago
Ak!  Does it have to be plastic wrap?!?  I don't use it; something about a petroleum product . . . My mother always rolls out pie crust between pieces of waxed paper.  But I've tried her recipe, and I just can't make it edible.  So, when I try this, do I have to buy plastic, or can I substitute waxed paper?
scoochmaroo (author)  b1russell5 years ago
Waxed paper is fine :D
RynTheTyn6 years ago
The secret to flaky pie crust isn't in the liquid, it's in keeping the fat from melting as you're working with the dough. I'm sure this is an excellent pie crust, but I thought I'd let people know that no matter what liquid you use, if you overwork the dough so that the fat melts before it goes in the oven, you're still going to end up with a hard crust.
LordOlimar6 years ago
I used this recipe a couple weeks ago and it was amazing!!! Thanks for sharing!
AndiEnns6 years ago
For underagers, like myself, substituting water for vodka should do the trick.
kenexinator6 years ago
I guess so to, it wouldn't really be so bad if you were eating pastre with a "sprinkle" of vodlka.
greenmia6 years ago
OOo... looks yummy. Too bad I'm underage.
If you eat a pie with crust made with vodka,Its ok,I heard that they Put Wine In...Erm...Stake,and some other meats,And besides,It "should" all evaporate away.
Hehe. I'm a vegetarian :) It's not that I mind cooking alcohol in a pie crust, but I'm not sure my parents would feel the same way. ;)
Well,Like i said,It "should" All evaporate away.
mg0930mg6 years ago
Hmmm... Is there like alchol, to where it's bad for people underage? Anyway, good job!
grizzman6 years ago
seems like a lot of extra work for a pie crust. the secret to flaky crusts is not overworking the dough. a crust should only have about a 1/4 cup of water in it total. that's what you used plus the vodka.
scoochmaroo (author)  grizzman6 years ago
It literally takes about 5 minutes to make it this way (shoot, I should have named it 5-minute pie crust. . . .) The extra liquid means it sticks together so well there's absolutely no kneading involved, meaning no overworking, and no extra flouring either. Plus the food processor makes quick work of it, and I find it fun!
luvit6 years ago
# ready made pie crust or crust of your choice! # 3 egg yolks # 1 cup of sugar # 6 tbsp Hershey's cocoa powder # 4 tbsp room temperature butter # 1/3 cup AP flour # 1/4 tsp salt # 2 cups milk (we use 2%, my Gran used whole) # 1 tsp vanilla extract choco cream pie! :p
ecopure6 years ago
I have been making this crust since I saw the recipe on Americas Test Kitchen and it is the best pie crust out there. Nice instructable.
scoochmaroo (author)  ecopure6 years ago
Thanks! Just about everyone I know uses this now. I know it's all over the internet, and I felt it deserved it's proper place here as well.
SinAmos6 years ago
I'll put this on my list.;)
Trying this next weekend, as the boyfriend has demanded pumpkin pie. Thanks!